Below are 10 tips to give you some ideas of how you can help develop that love of reading at a young age.
| || |
Image courtesy of Jomphong at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
- Set aside 20-30 minutes daily as family silent reading time. We all know children imitate what they see. Use this to your advantage. Allow them to see you enjoying reading!
- Have enjoyable reading material readily available. Surround your child with all types of reading material. Books, magazines, newspapers, whatever you can find. Make sure the material includes topics your child is interested in. Also include related topics and other subjects for your child to explore. Include material near the television and in the car. Encourage reading while waiting for Dr. appointments or other appointments.
- Enjoy a wide variety of reading activities. Point out the print that is all around us. Read street signs, menus, billboards, labels, mail, everything you can.
- Use a wide variety of aids to help your child. If your child is a strong reader and enjoys reading books, certainly don't get in the way of that. However, some children struggle with reading and learn to dislike (even despise) it. Continually presenting this child with books often just reinforces a negative feeling. To get that child the needed assistance and to begin equating reading with enjoyment, use games and computer programs for aids.
- Allow your child to choose reading material. Children will have plenty of required reading assignments from school. However, when your child is reading for pure enjoyment, allow him/her to choose their own books. It's vitally important that the topic is interesting. Children often go through phases where they only want to know about one topic. Allow them to learn through reading. In fact, often, a child reads at a much higher reading level than they are "supposed to" when they are fascinated by the topic. They will learn new vocabulary words, develop new reading strategies, read voracious amounts of books and all the while learning through reading AND having fun. Should you allow your child to choose a book well below their reading ability or a book they've already read 100 times? Sure!!! If a child is bored, they will do something else. So if they are actually reading these books, they are getting something from them. Maybe they are learning something new or just enjoying themselves. Whatever they are gaining, it's great.
- Show enthusiasm for reading. One way of showing your enthusiasm for reading is when your are reading to your children as mentioned in tip number 1. However, you also show your enthusiasm for reading and the importance you place on reading by your reaction to your child's reading. Genuinely praise your child's efforts.
- If your child isn't enjoying a book, it's OK to change books! I know we always say, "Don't quit!" However, when reading for enjoyment, it's important that your child is actually enjoying themselves. Otherwise, your child is just building a connection between reading and disinterest. Make sure the connection that is built is between reading and enjoyment.
- Repeated reading. When you read to your children, read them their favorite stories. Of course we want our children to be exposed to new things, but they shouldn't have to give up favorites. It's really fun for young children when you read them short rhymes repeatedly until them know them from memory. Then begin having them complete lines. Or you make mistakes and get caught!